What I Watched

What I Watched, What You Watched #238

Watched a movie I never thought I'd end up seeing

Delivery Man posterIronically enough, less than 24 hours after posting the list of new DVDs and Blu-rays coming out this past week I ended up watching one of the movies I had absolutely no interest in seeing. Writing about Delivery Man I said, "Eh, now we get to the titles I don't have much interest in. I don't have anything to say..." and lo and behold, it was the in-flight movie from Seattle to Miami. Granted, it was a red-eye flight and I was writing up the Bradley Cooper as Indiana Jones rumor and falling in and out of sleep while watching, but I watched it and pretty much thought it was awful.

However, I can see how it might be good and the potential for a solid drama in there, which makes me want to see the original that much more. Delivery Man, however, is just so on-the-nose with its dialogue and every action seems telegraphed and obvious. None of it felt authentic as much as it felt like a plot device, attempting to manipulate the audience rather than take us along on the journey. I also wonder if the original has the silly debt plotline injected in there to give the film's lead character another layer of conflict, as if learning you sired over 500 children and many of them now want to know your identity wasn't enough.

Other than that, I already mentioned I watched The Wolf of Wall Street again and I'll be writing up more on that as well as Criterion's new Persona release as well as Anchorman 2 in the coming weeks. Right now I'm just finishing off my current vacation and will be back in full swing by this Tuesday.

For now, let's hear what you watched this week in the comments below.

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  • andyluvsfilms

    The Avengers (Rewatch) 2.5/5
    The History Of The WWE(Doc) 3.5/5
    Trees Lounge 3.5/5
    Street Fight (Newark Mayoral Election Doc) 3.5/5
    30 For 30:Unguarded (Chris Herren/NBA Doc) 4/5
    Better Off Dead (1985 Rewatch) 4/5
    The Ice Pirates (1984 Rewatch) 3/5
    The Past 3.5/5
    Captain America: Winter Soldier 2.5/5

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/maja/ maja

      Where did you find the history of the wwe doc? I'm flying to the US tomorrow for wrestlemania and would love to watch this on the flight.

      • andyluvsfilms

        It was on US Netflix so you need to do a bit of jiggery pokery #google

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

      Disappointed to see that you didn't like Captain America 2 so much. I haven't seen it yet but reviews are very good and I'm excited for it.

      • TheOneWhoKnocks

        I can't wait for CAP AM 2. It'll be nice to see a well-received comic-book movie and just take pleasure in the escapist delights that it has to offer.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

          Yep I completely agree. It just has me really excited because it's the first comic book movie we've gotten since probably The Dark Knight Rises with such a high Rotten Tomatoes score.

          • TheOneWhoKnocks

            AVENGERS had me really excited, too. It's nice to see the summer movie season kick off with a really well-received blockbuster. The early spring is always a great time to watch more mainstream movies.

            As James Berardinelli pointed out on Twitter, the summer movie season essentially started one week ago with DIVERGENT. Almost every weekend from then till August will have at least one major blockbuster or tent-pole film.

            • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

              Definitely. I'm really excited.

      • andyluvsfilms

        It was an average score for an average film, the fight scenes were good but i think it was poorly edited and confusing. And of course its risk averse. Its still my favourite stand alone Marvel film.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

          Oh ok. Well, I hope I like it more but thanks for the response!

    • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

      Didn't see Noah? Is it not out in Brit-land yet?

      • andyluvsfilms

        I think its out but it hasn't hit peasant country yet.

        • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

          Ahh, poor kid... It's okay. It gets better.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

    The Wolf Of Wall Street- A+
    Nebraska- B-
    All Is Lost- B-
    The Hangover Part 3 (rewatch)- A-
    Kicking And Screaming- C
    Ghost Town- B
    Burn After Reading- B
    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (rewatch)- A+
    American Hustle- A-
    Gravity (rewatch)- A+
    A Thousand Words- C+
    The Butler- C+
    The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (rewatch)- A+
    Quantum Of Solace (rewatch)- C+

    Thoughts on what I watched this week?

    • TheOneWhoKnocks

      Just out of curiosity, how do you find the time to watch so many movies? Do you own most of them, or do you subscribe to a very efficient streaming or DVD delivery service (read "not Netflix")?

    • m1

      I would go B+ on The Wolf of Wall Street, A- on Nebraska, B on All Is Lost, D on The Hangover Part 3, C+ on Burn After Reading, B+ on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, A on American Hustle, A+ on Gravity, B- on The Butler, B on The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and C- on Quantum of Solace. I think that's it.

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      Wow, you watched a lot this week.

      My grades and one sentance thought. -

      The Wolf of Wall Street - A+. Excellent performances in a fantastic long hilariously dark well directed and well edited satrical adaptation with a great soundtrack.

      Nebraska - B+. A very good dramedy.

      All is Lost - A. A fantastic survival thriller.

      The Hunger Games Catching Fire - A. A fantastic sequel that improves upon the flaws of the original.

      American Hustle - A. A fantastic hilarious movie with carrer best performances, excellent production design and direction, and a fantastic soundtrack.

      Gravity - A-. A techincal masterpiece with some glaring flaws.

      • TheOneWhoKnocks

        Yeah, CATCHING FIRE surprised me with just how much it improved on the source material. Seriously, the books are very middle-of-the-road.

        It also left me very excited for MOCKINGJAY: PART I.

        • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

          I agree. I went into Catching Fire with high expectations after hearing how much better it was but almost everything pre-games suprised me at how good it was.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

      TWOWS-A+
      The Hangover: Part 3-C
      The Hunger Games: Catching Fire-A-/A
      American Hustle-A+
      Gravity-A+
      The Butler-B
      TPOBAW-A-
      Quantum of Solace-B

    • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

      I REALLY disliked American Hustle and Nebraska, both were disappointing. I like Perks, Burn after Reading, and Wolf of Wall Street, though. Indifferent about all the other ones, but All is Lost, which I haven't seen yet...

    • http://letterboxd.com/mrthejarret/ Jarret

      Wow that's a lot.

      Nebraska: A
      Kicking And Screaming: C-
      The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: A
      American Hustle: B

      Gravity: A-

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

      From what I've seen there -
      All is Lost - (A-)
      Burn After Reading - (B-)
      American Hustle - (B)
      Gravity - (A)
      The Perks of Being A Wallflower - (B+)
      Quantum of Solace - (D)

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mikey/ Mikey

      Wolf of Wall Street- A
      Nebraska- B+
      All Is Lost- A-
      The Hangover Part 3- D+
      Kicking and Screaming- B-
      Ghost Town- C
      Burn After Reading- B
      The Hunger Games: Catching Fire- B+
      American Hustle- A-
      Gravity- A
      The Butler- C+
      The Perks of Being a Wallflower- A-
      Quantum of Solace- C- (Though its been a while)

    • Xarnis

      The Wolf of Wall Street - A
      Nebraska - B+
      All is Lost - B
      Burn After Reading - A-
      The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - C-
      American Hustle - B-
      Gravity - B
      The Butler - D+
      The Perks of Being a Wallflower - D
      Quantum of Solace - C+

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/PzyKo/ Max

      The Wolf of Wall Street: B+/A-
      Kicking and Screaming: C
      Burn After Reading: A
      American Hustle: A+
      Gravity: C-
      The Perks of Being a Wallflower: B+
      Quantum of Solace: B

    • http://www.iamramiam.blogspot.com Movieram

      Oh, man! I'm sorry that you didn't like Nebraska better. It was my second favorite film of 2013 behind 12 Years a Slave. It reminded me of those great dramas from the 1970s.

  • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

    In theaters -

    The Grand Budapest Hotel -

    Fantastic. The direction and production design are excellent, the performances are fantastic and it's also hilarious and heartfelt. My favorite movie of the year and most likely will be in my top 10 at the end of the year.

    At home -

    On TV -

    Sherlock -

    The Hounds of Baskerville - Another great episode of the show. This show is fantastic.

    The Reinchenbach Fall - Wow. Incredible. Favorite episode of the show.

    The Empty Hearse - A great return. The direction is very stylized, the acting is still strong and the humor is there as well.

    Questions -
    1. Thoughts on what I watched this week ?
    2. What's your favorite movie of 2014 and do you see it in your top ten at the end of the year ?
    3. What's your favorite episode of Sherlock ?

    • m1

      1. I haven't yet seen Grand Budapest but I definitely want to get around to it at some point. I do not watch Sherlock.

      2. Of all the movies this year I've only seen The Lego Movie but I thought it was fantastic and it definitely has a great shot at making my top ten.

      3. As I said, I do not watch Sherlock.

      • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

        1. Try to check out Grand Budapest soon. Sherlock is good as well.
        2. That was my number 1 before Budapest. I also think it could be in my top 10 but depending on the rest of the year, it could be an honorable mention.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

      1. Haven't seen Grand Budapest yet but I want to.
      2. Noah and I think it will be in my Top 10. Most likely in the 5-10 slots.
      3. I haven't watched Sherlock but I want to.

      • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

        1. Grand Budapest is more than worth seeing.
        2. Haven't seen Noah yet.
        3. Check it out once Walking Dead's season ends.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

          1. Definitely will see it sometime.
          2. Check it out.
          3. Sounds good, I just might.

          • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

            2. Going to check it out soon. Can't this week but maybe next week.

            • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

              Alright good to hear!

    • Shaun Heenan

      1. I can't wait for Grand Budapest. Opens here on the 10th. Moonrise Kingdom made my top ten that year.
      2. Nymphomaniac. I'd be really surprised if it's not in my top ten.
      3. Never seen it.

      • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

        1. The waiting is worth it.
        2. Haven't seen that but want to. Did you watch Part 2 right after Part 1 ?

        • Shaun Heenan

          Yeah, my cinema showed them back to back. Four hours well spent.

          • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

            Interesting. Do you think they needed to be seen back to back or not ?

            • Shaun Heenan

              I think it helped. It flows really well as one long movie. The beginning of part two does something interesting with the end of part one, as well, which may have less impact if split up. There's also some stuff in 2 that makes more sense in the middle of a four hour movie than as the start of a 2 hour one.

              • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

                I'l try to watch them together. Thanks.

    • http://letterboxd.com/mrthejarret/ Jarret

      1. I really like Grand Budapest Hotel too.
      2. Grand Budapest, it might hold on to a 6-10 spot.
      3. Sherlock is on the very long list of TV shows I should start watching.

      • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

        1. My favorite Wes Anderson. I've only seen Mr. Fox and Moonrise besides it.
        2. Agreee.
        3. There's no rush. It's 9 episodes and no new ones are coming out for a while.

        • http://letterboxd.com/mrthejarret/ Jarret

          1. It's my sixth favorite of his believe it or not, I've seen all of his movies. Life Aquatic is my favorite closely followed by Royal Tenenbaums and Moonrise Kingdom.

          • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

            1. I need to see more of his movies. Where should I start ?

            • http://letterboxd.com/mrthejarret/ Jarret

              Doesn't really matter.

              • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

                Good to know. Might watch Rushmore this week.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

      1. I enjoyed pieces and elements of 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' (set design, visual design, performances) but I'm not sure yet on the totality of it. I would like to rewatch it down the line to see.
      2. So far I think the film I've liked best this year is still 'The Railway Man' but I don't see it being on an end of year Top Ten.
      3. I like the Baskervilles one and Reichenbach best I think. But the pilot is also pretty good.

      • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

        1. I can see where you are coming from.
        2. Haven't seen it.
        3. I agree. Reichenbach is the best. Pilot is second.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mikey/ Mikey

      1) Grand Budapest was delightful and is a film I would quite like to revisit on Blu Ray. Sherlock is fantastic though I think you are a little too high on "Hounds of Baskerville."

      2) The Grand Budapest Hotel could very well be somewhere in the bottom half (6-10), though I think the rest of the year is too promising for it to crack the top 5.

      3) Having only seen the first two seasons, I'd say "Scandal in Belgravia" is my favorite so far (with "Reichenbach Fall" as a close second)

      • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

        1. I am probably going to buy Budapest on blu as well. For Hounds, I was just saying how the show overall is.
        2. Agree.
        3. For me, it's the other way around with Reichenbach Fall being my favorite and Belgravia being second.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Hudsucker/ Hudsucker

        I've seen the third season and it is excellent. I wasn't a huge fan of the middle episode though. But hey, even middling Sherlock is great television. Also, 300th comment!

    • Xarnis

      1. The Grand Budapest Hotel is awesome, and Sherlock is pretty good. I still need to finish season 3.

      2. By default it's currently The Grand Budapest Hotel. It will definitely be in my year end top 10

      3. The last episode of season 1

      • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

        1. Agree on both. I still need to finish Season 3 as well.
        2. Agree.
        3. Loved that episode.

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    Don't really get much time to watch movies, although that will definitely change when I switch jobs in May. For example, I used to be able to go to the movies at least once a month, but last year, I went through August and September without making a single trip to the theater.

    Anyway, I only saw one movie this week.

    NOAH (2014) (Darren Aronofsky) - A

    It isn't perfect, but I absolutely loved this film. Everything from the performances to Aronofsky's arrangement of the images to the cinematography and visual effects are first-rate. Just as Spike Jonze deviated from the source material when making WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, so too does Aronofsky, sometimes to curious effect. The film is by no means the most faithful adaptation of the Genesis story, but it is a very unique, audacious work of cinema. It explores many of the same themes found in previous Aronofsky films: envy, obsession, and even the desire to be wanted, as demonstrated by the character of Ham. Sure, some might argue it's a tad melodramatic, and I don't think that the score is particularly memorable, but the film moves by very quickly for a two-and-a-half-hour-long epic. It also earns extra points for exploring the moral implications of Noah's family being the only family to survive. Russell Crowe does a magnificent job portraying Noah not just as a man of God, but also a deeply flawed human being. And the film's pro-vegan, environmentalist message is haunting; in ways, it explores how mainstream Christianity often fails to protect all life, be it human or animal. It may not be as "trippy" as previous Aronofsky efforts, but it's still one of my favorite movies of 2014 so far.

    Questions:

    1. What is your favorite movie of 2014?
    2. What would you give NOAH, if you've seen it?
    3. Who gave the best performances in NOAH? (I'd say Crowe, Connelly, Watson, and Lerman.)
    4. Would NOAH make your top three Aronofsky films?
    5. What would you recommend me watching next in theaters, assuming I've recently seen only NEED FOR SPEED and NOAH?

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      1. The Grand Budapest Hotel.
      2-4. Have not seen Noah. Will see it eventually.
      5. The Grand Budapest Hotel.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

      1. Noah
      2. An A, I absolutely agree with everything you said.
      3. Crowe and Lerman. Watson and Connelly aren't far behind.
      4. Only seen Noah, planning to watch more. Which do you recommend I watch first?
      5. 300: Rise of an Empire or Captain America 2. I haven't seen it yet but it looks great and the reviews have been very good.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fox/ Fox

        I'll jump in here. The Wrestler is fantastic; near perfect. Other than that, if you want something a little more obscure and unbounded, The Fountain is really powerful.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

          Yep thanks for the recommendations. I think the Wrestler will definitely be the first one I watch other than Noah. I think the second will be either Black Swan or Requiem for a Dream.

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fox/ Fox

            All three are great

    • Shaun Heenan

      1. So far it's Nymphomaniac. It screened here as one movie.

      2. 8/10 from me, pending a rewatch later in the week.
      3. Crowe really stood out for me.
      4. No. I'd say Requiem, Wrestler and Black Swan are all 10/10 films.
      5. If it's playing near you and you don't actively hate Lars von Trier, I'd say Nymphomaniac.

    • http://letterboxd.com/mrthejarret/ Jarret

      1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
      2-4. No Noah for me, I'll watch it eventually though,
      5. Go check out Grand Budapest Hotel.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

      1. Calvary

    • Xarnis

      1. The Grand Budapest Hotel, so far
      2. I gave it a 3.5/5. Very good film, but held back by the trappings of the genre.
      3. Crowe by far. The rest of the cast wasn't given a whole lot to do, except for Watson, who was quite good as well.
      4. No. My top 3 are Requiuem for a Dream, The Wrestler, and Pi.
      5. The Grand Budapest Hotel, if it's in your area

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Chris138/ Chris138

      1. Noah and The Grand Budapest Hotel are about neck and neck with each other.
      2. As a letter grade I would give it an A-
      3. Russell Crowe, although I thought Emma Watson was quite good as well.
      4. Yes.
      5. The Grand Budapest Hotel.

  • ashdurdin

    Pretty slow week for me movie wise.

    The Grand Budapest Hotel: I was a little hesitant about this because I'm not a big Wes Anderson fan, but I thought it was pretty great. The performances are all great, the story zips along and it alternates between great comedic moments and genuinely emotional ones.

    Mean Streets: Not a huge Scorsese fan, but there was a lot to like in this early work of his.

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    Light week for me - on TV watched some Shark Tank. Everyone check out my YouTube channel if you haven't already!

    G-Man Movie Reviews Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxF9Bv6_kf5OjYq9z6KtoCQ/videos?flow=grid&view=0

    Letterboxd: http://letterboxd.com/gman/

    First Watches:

    War of the Worlds (2005) - A mildly entertaining two hours that never really bored me, but never
    did anything to really grasp my attention. Both of Tom Cruise's kids
    characters, played by Justin Chatwin and Dakota Fanning, were extremely
    annoying and frankly I was rooting against them for this reason. The
    ending elicited a "that was it" from me too - the thought behind it was
    solid, but the execution left something to be desired. Check this out on
    cable / HBO in the afternoon if you're interested in this type of stuff
    or are a Tom Cruise fan. 6.0 / 10

    Sabotage (2014) - After loving David Ayer's last film, End of Watch, I'm let down by his latest, Sabotage. Some humorous and entertaining lines, and a few decent action scenes, but the plot of the movie is below average if we're being blunt here. There were a few times I thought they were going to turn the story around into something a little more original, but it never wound up amounting to anything. Didn't find the characters or relationships all that intriguing either. Unfortunately can't recommend this one. 4.5 / 10

    Re-Watch:

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) - Had so much fun re-watching this after many years. Yes, there are cheesy parts and convenient plot points I recognize these days, but that doesn't take away from the good time I had. The score is freaking awesome - I really love the theme where the Turtles fight Shredder at
    the end. Does anyone know the name? 8.0 / 10

  • Shaun Heenan

    Veronica Mars - 6/10
    I, Frankenstein - 3/10
    Vampire Academy - 5/10
    Cuban Fury - 6/10
    Morvern Callar - 7/10
    Noah - 8/10
    Nymphomaniac (all of it) - at least 9/10
    Knock on Any Door - 7/10
    Pusher - 7/10
    Pusher 2 - 7/10
    Pusher 3 - 7/10
    Valhalla Rising - 5/10
    Inland Empire - 1/10

    • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

      I'm a masssive Nicolas Winding Refn fan, liking all of those ones you posted... Valhalla Rising is probably his hardest to just sit down and watch, but I find it fascinating. With the trilogy, I like 2 then 3 then one. How would you rank them?

      • Shaun Heenan

        The only films of his I haven't seen now are Bleeder and Fear X, which I'm working on getting a hold of.

        There are scenes in Valhalla Rising I really loved - when the music took over, mostly. The whole movie runs at that pace, but with the overwhelming music it makes sense.

        With Pusher, I think I agree. 2 is definitely the best of them. The original is probably the least interesting, but as you can see by my ratings, there's not a lot separating them in my mind.

        Do you think it's worth watching the 2012 remake of Pusher?

        • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

          Yeah, I haven't seen Bleeder or Fear X either... Ordered them off of Amazon a few days ago, though, so I'll have his filmography complete soon enough.

          Strangely enough the music does take over but it doesn't feel like an hour and a half music video... Plays out almost like a silent film (other than the little dialogue there is, of course).

          There are aspects I ADORE about all of them. The ending of the first Pusher is phenomenal (even if the rest isn't). The last act of Pusher 3 is something to be seen, feeling remarkably, and disgustingly, realistic. I love pretty much all of the second one, though. What pushes (heh) it above the other ones, for me, is the party sequence where he's seen in almost completely monochrome red. I love red lighting (which is probably part of why his style is attractive for me), so that was cool for me.

          I dunno. It's sitting in my Netflix queue, but you never do know... Refn produced it, so maybe?

          • Shaun Heenan

            He does love his neon hallways.

            • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

              Haha yeah... I get caught up in the style of things. Probably my biggest fault as a film-viewer.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

    Movies:

    Noah- This will be one of the most polarizing and talked about films for a very long time. Consider me on the side that thought it was great. When I saw that this film got a C Cinemascore, I wasn't surprised at all. I'm almost positive it was because of a mix of both F and A Grades. The F grades came from the very religious people. I do understand why this film would bother someone who was very religious but I have to say, isn't the end result the same as the Bible? What difference does it make if it isn't a traditional way of getting to the end result? After all, the Bible doesn't say much about how this story happened. I just feel that the film would've been very bland and would have almost no point if it played it safe. I, as a Christian wasn't bothered by the film at all. Now, to what I thought of the movie. I really liked it. It's definitely my favorite film of 2014, taking over from 300: Rise of an Empire. The beginning was a little bit confusing and choppily edited. However, it quickly gets better and better. The acting in this film is excellent. There isn't one weak link among the cast. Russell Crowe is outstanding and Jennifer Connelly is great, as are Anthony Hopkins and Ray Winstone. Emma Watson and Logan Lerman also give very impressive performances. I was so impressed by the story that Aronofsky was able to craft. It was captivating and never boring. This movie is dark and it doesn't shy away from it. I absolutely loved the twist on Noah's character in the second half, really showing the dangers of religious fanaticism and giving a fresh take on a story that has been told the same way, over and over. The word epic is really the way to sum this film up. The visuals are outstanding and I can't wait to watch this film again on Blu-ray. I just hope that people realize how good it is.
    A

    TV:

    The Walking Dead: Season 4, Episode 15: After Episode 14, one of the best episodes of the entire series in my opinion, I was finally excited about watching this show again. The penultimate episode of this season was ultimately a good but not quite great episode. I can't say I disliked it like I did with many of the episodes during the second half of this season. Overall, a pretty good episode with a great ending. I can't wait for the finale tonight. I pray that it blows me away. I have a feeling it will.
    B

    Bates Motel: Season 2, Episode 4: After a bit of a comedown in Episode 3 from the first two episodes of the season, this episode was back to being great. It wasn't a super important episode but it managed to stand out. Again, I can't praise the performances in this show enough, they are unbelievable. Kudos to Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore. There were very dramatic scenes during this episode that were played perfectly. Max Theriot and Vera Farmiga share a great scene that showcases talent in both of them. The ending of this episode was truly what stood out, however. We finally get to see Norman Bates speaking in his "mother" persona for the first time. We got a little glimpse of it during the finale of Season 1 but it wasn't full on. Freddie Highmores' performance during the scene is incredible and conjured thoughts of Anthony Perkins in Psycho. He was that good in this scene. Part of me would really love to see a remake of Psycho with Highmore taking over from Perkins as Norman. I really have grown to love this show. I can't wait for the next episode yet again.
    A-

    Vikings: Season 2, Episode 5: I'm very happy this show is going to get a Season 3. It has some excellent action sequences and drama. It manages to blend some educational experience perfectly with a great scripted drama. This has become one of my favorite shows on television. This episode was probably the best of the season and I can only hope it gets better.
    A

    Questions:

    1. Thoughts?
    2. Over/Under 90% on RT for Captain America: The Winter Soldier (94% now with about 55 reviews)
    3. Over/Under $100 mil opening for Cap 2
    4. Do you think Noah could be an Oscar contender for Best Picture?
    5. Do you think Russell Crowe will get a Best Actor nod for Noah?
    6. Are you planning on seeing Captain America 2?
    7. What is your favorite Marvel film?
    8. What Darren Aronofsky film should I watch next? (Noah is the only one I have seen)

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      2. Over.
      3. Under
      4. No
      5. No
      6. Yes
      7. The Avengers.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

        I agree with your answers pretty much. I think Cap 2 could go over 100 million though.

        • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

          Do you mean 100 mill domestic opening or international ?

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

            Domestic. I don't know why I have a feeling but Thor 2 opened with around 86 million. The reviews were significantly worse and I don't think the marketing was as big. Also, in my opinion Captain America is slightly more popular than Thor.

            • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

              I agree that America is slightly more popular than Thor and America has more going for it. I think it could but am not betting on it.

    • Shaun Heenan

      1. I agree that Noah will polarise. I ended up really happy with it.
      2. Under.
      3. Under.
      4. No.
      5. No.
      6. Already have preview tickets.
      7. The Avengers.
      8. Go for a double bill of The Wrestler and Black Swan.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

        1. Good nice to hear someone else is too.
        2. I think it'll end up around 91-95%
        3. I think it'll open to $105 million.
        4. I agree, sadly.
        5. Same as #4.
        6. I will buy tickets for Saturday sometime this week.
        7. I would probably agree but I really like Iron Man and Iron Man 3.
        8. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

      2. Looking like a push.

      3. Over.

      4. Probably not, mostly for the March release date and not full on love from most.

      5. Nope.

      6. Unfortunately.

      7. Gah. Thor or Thor 2, probably...

      8. I really love Pi, Requiem for a Dream, and The Fountain. Haven't seen The Wrestler. Black Swan was kinda interesting, but a mess. All are worth watching, though. Personally, I'd go Pi next, which I find to be his most entertaining.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

      1. Based on what I've been hearing I expect to find 'Noah' either terrible or fantastic. I'm not religious but neither am I big on Aronofsky especially. I haven't seen those TV shows.
      2. Usually early RT ratings that high dip once wide release hits, but with 55 reviews in it probably won't fall hard, I'll say it'll just stay over.
      3. Under.
      4. No (too far out for momentum to be maintained I think).
      5. No.
      6. Already have.
      7. I still like 'The Avengers' itself and the first 'Iron Man'.
      8. I've only seen 'The Wrestler' and 'Black Swan' and while the former is OK from what I remember I've become convinced the latter is absurdly overpraised. I'd read the outlines of his films and see which one appeals to you based on the story outline first.

    • http://letterboxd.com/mrthejarret/ Jarret

      2. I'll push.
      3. I'm assuming you mean opening weekend so under.
      4. Unless it's an unusually weak year then no chance.
      5. No chance.
      6. Still gotta catch up on the first one so not immediately.
      7. Iron Man.
      8. Haven't seen any of his work, I should though.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

        2. ok haha
        3. i think a little over
        4+5. i sadly agree
        6. definitely check out the first its really fun.
        7. I'm happy to see someone else who doesn't really think Avengers is the best marvel movie.
        8. Same here, except for Noah

    • TheOneWhoKnocks

      Lately, I've become more and more fascinated with religion, and NOAH just did something for me which very few other movies manage to do. I've said before, and I'll say it again: deviating from the source material can occasionally produce something truly magnificent (see WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE), and that was the case here. Very affecting film, both emotionally and artistically.

      I wouldn't describe Noah's mood swings in the latter half of the film as emblematic of religious fanaticism. Instead, it's just meant to demonstrate how Noah was, in many ways, no better than those whom he left behind to die. This inner conflict makes Noah less a man of God and more a flawed human being. The movie doesn't just whitewash the destruction of an entire civilization of individuals; it's an actual part of Noah's arc (see what I did there?). That's what made the movie resonate with me.

      I wish we got more movies like this. Something truly unique, immersive, and magnificent.

    • TheOneWhoKnocks

      1. We agree on NOAH, so yeah.
      2. I'll say over, because I really want to see a fun post-AVENGERS comic-book movie which delivers on the escapist thrills.
      3. Under?
      4. No. It's too esoteric, too strange, too different, too unique.
      5. Nope. Too early in the year.
      6. Definitely.
      7. Toss-up between IRON MAN and AVENGERS. I'll go with AVENGERS, because I've seen IRON MAN way too often.
      8. Since I'm big on order, I'd say go with PI.

    • ashdurdin

      1. I was hesitant to see Noah, but with several people here liking it I think I'm going to go see it later this week.
      2. Probably under (90 just seems so high)
      3. Under
      4. Maybe, but probably not.
      5. There is a theory out there that the Academy holds a grudge against him for his past behavior so no.
      6. Yes, the first one was my favorite of the solo Marvel films.
      7. The Avengers
      8. Black Swan is pretty fantastic, it has one of my favorite endings of all time.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/PzyKo/ Max

      1) Haven't seen Noah yet. I need to see Grand Budapest (which just opened in my area) first.
      2) I think it'll eventually fall to exactly 90%.
      3) Under. It's not Iron Man 3.
      4) Maybe. The release date is one to worry about. But aside from Interstellar, the only film that would have any Oscar potential for Paramount is The Gambler, and that's if it's even released this year.
      5) No.
      6) Probably.
      7) The original Iron Man
      8) If you want to get mind fucked, watch Pi. If you want to cry, watch The Wrestler. If you want to watch something interesting, watch The Fountain or Black Swan. If you want to feel like absolute shit after seeing it, watch Requiem for a Dream.

    • Xarnis

      1. I liked Noah, but not as much as you did.
      4. absolutely not
      5. absolutely not
      6. sure
      7. The Avengers, or Iron Man
      8. The Wrestler, but all of his films are very good.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

        thanks for the response!

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Newbourne/ Newbourne

      I have no idea why anyone in the church would be upset with that movie. Once you see the rock monsters, all bets are off. It's very clear that he isn't trying to sell us this as "the actual story of Noah", so you can just relish in on the fun of this fictional alternate version.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

        I completely agree with you. I feel that no one actually knows the "true" story. The Bible doesn't talk about it much and as I said, the end result of the movie is the same as the Bible. I think this is territory where people just close their minds and refuse to be open to anything else.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

    I had a mini-Marvel session, a couple of 'new' Hitchcocks and some other random bits and pieces. Overall, a rather good week but I'm trying to accelerate my viewing and re-viewing program over the next few weeks anyway.
    In Cinemas -
    Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): Because it hasn't opened in the US yet I can't fairly say a whole lot about this to avoid potential spoilers for anyone who is interested in it. Ironically, while it's subtitled 'The Winter Soldier' it's really rather more a 'S.H.I.EL.D' film and certainly one can see the DNA of a conspiracy thriller flowing through it. It follows on from some elements of 'The Avengers' and allows Rogers and Black Widow quite a bit of time together as they find themselves chasing across the East coast to unravel an attack on 'S.H.I.E.L.D' itself. And while it caves in to some likely plot holes and logic issues as it draws to a conclusion, some of the underlying themes and content are actually perfectly serviceable if of the somewhat broad brush variety. The interesting thing about Rogers being always he is a man in a world who is not of that world, and really struggling to adapt to that. Considering their (as far as I'm aware) lack of an action background the Russo Brothers deliver plenty of spectacle (not too heavily CGI for the most part until the very heavy finale) but also plenty of plot and character beats as well. It also, for the MCU itself, sets up some very interesting dynamics that may play in 'The Avengers: The Age of Ultron' (and in fact the now standard mid credits scene directed by Joss Whedon introduces some characters we already know will be involved in it) and presses reset on a couple of major things, while certainly also laying the foundations for 'Captain America 3'. Overall, it might just be one of the best offerings the MCU has given so far - which will have very different connotations for different people. On balance, I would think this will be greatly enjoyed by those who don't dismiss the Marvel films instantaneously and those who have probably won't find anything in it to change their minds should they give it a look.
    At Home -
    Foreign Correspondent (1940): TV airing, first watch - Wouldn't you know, not long after the article on the Criterion edition of this film it turns up on TV. So, I dutifully watched this Hitchcock propaganda film which offered up plenty of interesting elements, while not being a film I can say I necessarily would rush to revisit in the near future. It was well made, thrilling in places, and chock full of twists and turns but there was just something lacking that made it something I enjoyed less than I expected, considering I've been rewatching other period Hitchcock films and getting much more out of them.
    One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942): TV airing, first watch - Another Powell and Pressburger ticked off the list, this time following the crew of an RAF Bomber which the crew bail out of over the Netherlands and have to stay hidden within until rescue can come. Maybe the first film of theirs I've been a little disappointed in, it was OK but again I'm not sure I would go out of my way to rewatch it anytime soon.
    I Confess (1953): TV airing, first watch - I didn't even know this existed, let alone being a Hitchcock film until it was paired with the above as part of a double feature on TV. Beautifully shot on location and set in Quebec City, this is more of a straightforward thriller/melodrama featuring Montgomery Clift as a Catholic Priest who hears the confession of a murderer, only to find himself under suspicion for the murder by detective Karl Malden. Unable to break the confession given to him, his own past and the plotting of the real killer conspire to put the Priest to trial for the murder. Very enjoyable, some great scenery of the city it's set in and a good score as well. Never heard of it at all before this week but I would watch it again.
    Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971): Blu ray, first watch - Dario Argento and his Giallo horror's are not films I'm familiar with a lot and in fact outwith some genuinely stylistic flourishes this oldie was notable more for some very bad redubbing despite a great looking Blu Ray transfer. Micheal Brandon stars as a musician living in Rome (I think) with his wife. When he stops a man who has been following him for several days he accidentally ends up killing him, only to find someone saw him and is now playing games with him whilst not reporting the murder to the police. It attempts to be more psychological than bloody and in fact there really isn't much blood or gore in it. There's some interesting camerawork perspective work though and a great final shot that would not surprise me to maybe have influenced Brian De Palma - but the final reveal is dubious to say the least and also a bit OTT. A curiosity and I would check out more Argento films, but maybe not with enormous expectations.
    Pearl Harbor (2001): DVD, rewatch - I just had a notion to watch this in that same way you sometimes get a notion to have a McDonalds - you know it won't fill you up for long but you want it anyway. The main reason to watch it is really just the central sequence itself because goodness knows Randall Wallace's script is a howler (historical accuracy and good dialogue are alien to him in general though it seems) and performances are a bit on the wooden side (Josh Hartnett is especially wooden). But I got it out my system, so fair enough.
    Thor (2011): Blu ray, rewatch - A quick rewatch here before I watched the sequel as well. The 'Thor' films seem always to have a bit of difficulty balancing out the Asgard elements and the Earth ones and it's always more fun when it's on Asgard and the Realms than on the Earth but it's bright and colourful fun to watch now and again.
    Captain America: The First Avenger (2011): Blu ray, rewatch - A quickie after watching the sequel above. I still love the whole retro-40's thing it was vibing on and enjoy it.
    Your Sister's Sister (2012): Blu ray, rewatch - Although mumblecore doesn't really do a whole lot for me, I love this little film because of the performances of Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass and Rosemarie DeWitt and the gorgeous location work that I think is British Columbia somewhere.
    Thor: The Dark World (2013): Blu ray, rewatch - I do think it's one of the weaker MCU films so far, thanks to a slightly cluttered plot but it has it moments and if you use it to track the overall arc of Thor and Loki then there's plenty in here to continue their story even if the villain is a bit nondescript. I did also watch the Marvel One Shot 'All Hail The King' featuring Ben Kingsley and Scoot McNairy (with a cameo from Sam Rockwell also) which was not as good as 'Agent Carter' but which did slyly reference some fan reaction to the Mandarin character In 'Iron Man 3' along the way.
    Short Term 12 (2013): Blu ray, first watch - Sometimes the devil is in the details in indie cinema, given it's own ability to recycle themes and ideas within it's own subculture and so it goes with 'Short Term 12' which is raised well above it's relatively familiar feeling narrative by a very strong lead performance by Brie Larsen even as it wobbles just a little into melodrama towards the end. With naturalistic feeling performances across the cast (aside from a slight touch of '90210' poutiness early on from Kaitlin Dever) and nice direction it was a really good watch and a really at times involving drama as well. I did feel parts of the third act slipped a little into melodrama but you can generally forgive that in a film as well done as this is.
    In TV Land I watched nothing major apart from a couple of Winston Churchill WW2 documentaries (one about his decision in 1940 to order the Royal Navy to destroy the French Naval Fleet so that it could not fall into the hands of Germany in the wake of the French defeat, which caused the lives of many allies in the fleet and one about the various Fascist elements within the Aristocracy who were plotting to undermine Churchill in power) and then via YouTube I ended up watching about ten or so episodes of the first season of the US sitcom 'Maude' from 1972-1973 which starred Bea Arthur. The story as to how I ended up on that is very dull but actually the show itself was quite funny and very topical for it's time.
    And that was all this week.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

      Great to hear about The Winter Soldier! I agree definitely on Thor 2. I think it is by far the worst Marvel film.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

        It's not so much I think it's bad, and I could easily rhyme off a boatload of films I thought less of, but as I said above the one recurring problem I think the 'Thor' films have is that basically anytime we're not on Asgard it's never as interesting, because the main story of Thor and Loki is all Realms based. Plus, you can sort of tell Natalie Portman phoned it in on this one. The rest still tried but she was just like not there at all.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

          Same here, I didn't think it was bad. Probably like a B- for me. I just thought it was a major disappointment.

    • Falcon

      I have not seen Foreign Correspondence yet, though I have wanted to sends it has come up recently. I remember thinking I Confess was very good. It is interesting how Hitchcock's style can change from film to film but retain some essential Hitchcock-ness.

      I have One of Power Aircraft is Missing on the list.

      My interest in Michael Bay does not extend much beyond The Rock. I think I would rather watch Howard Hawk's Air Force and/or Tora, Tora, Tora again.

      I don't have anything against comic book movies per se, but I don't have that much interest in them either and have not heard anything about these to overcome that. I might watch The Avengers on Netflix and maybe Thor if it comes on some time too.

  • http://letterboxd.com/mrthejarret/ Jarret

    King Kong: Can't believe this gets universal praise. 3.5/10.

    Happy Gilmore: Meh. 5/10.

    Airplane 2: Airplane is my favorite comedy and of course this doesn't live up to it but it is decent. 6.5/10.

    World War Z: I was expecting something cooler but instead I got this dull and boring movie. 4.5/10.

    • Falcon

      Which version of King Kong are you referring to?

      • http://letterboxd.com/mrthejarret/ Jarret

        2005, should've put that in there.

        • Falcon

          Oh I very much agree with you then.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mikey/ Mikey

    In Theaters:

    Bad Words- A funny, if predictable, dark comedy. Jason Bateman gives one of his better performances, and he shows competence as a director, though some of the lighting was distractingly dark. Ultimately, Rohan Chand saves the film by being the rare child actor that stays constantly cute without ever becoming annoying. 3/4

    Noah- Moments of greatness shine through in Aronofsky's biblical epic that never feels like the sum of its parts. The film is at its best when we find Noah struggling with whether or not mankind should even be allowed to continue to exist. In fact, a recounting of the early Bible stories and a climax involving a crazed Russell Crowe and a desperate Emma Watson prove to be the film's highlights. Unfortunately, Aronofsky explores so many other themes and relationships within the confines of the film, that many of them never feel complete. Still this is ambitious and fascinating stuff, and a film I may have to return to. 3/4

    At Home:

    Mulholland Drive- Woah. I didn't send the Netflix DVD back as I cannot wait to return to this soon. I'll call it a 3.5/4 for now, but another viewing very well might bump it up.

  • Falcon

    On a five star scale:

    L.A. Confidential 1997 ★★★★½

    A nearly flawless entertainment. Everything in the film, acting, writing, direction, production design, cinematography, soundtrack and score are first rate and put you in the L.A. of the early 50's. It is a textbook example of successfully adapting a difficult book to the screen while retaining it's essence and flavor. While James Ellroy's books are brilliant as literature, adapted literally they would be unwatchable (witness The Black Dahlia, which does as best one could expect). This is compellingly watchable. A career high for all involved.

    The Rock 1996 ★★★★

    The pinnacle of the 90's action film; brilliant premise and location, wonderful actors, great pacing, and occasionally idiotic. The idea of making James Bond the hero after 30 years in prison without trial is sheer genius and Connery delivers in spades. Michael Bay may have the sensibilities of a frat boy from 1962, but he has done one truly great thing.

    Once Upon a Time in America 1984 ★★★★★

    Sergio Leone's most refined film and possibly his best. While it does not have the florid greatness of his westerns; the extreme close-ups, often juxtaposed with distant secondary subjects, the operatic integration of score and action, the other-worldly effect of the dubbing and offbeat sound mixing, it has a greater weight stemming from the expanded temporal scope of the film, the unhurried presentation and the amount of time spent with the characters and witnessing their history. The score is far less assertive than in the other films but equally lovely and moving. DeNiro and James Woods are as good here as they have ever been. Likely the greatest movie of the past 40 years.

    The Wild Geese 1978 ★★★

    A rather fascinating and problematic film.

    As a social artifact, the premise is inherently objectionable and some of it's language and attitudes are hardly PC. Yet if one grants it the right to have it's characters' actions judged apart from the film itself (a right asserted by supporters of The Wolf of Wall Street), the "message" of the film is essentially benign; that white and black people in Africa should be left alone to learn to live together recognizing their mutual dependence. And while the gay character might raise hackles he is himself depicted quite positively, even heroically, and as fully accepted by his comrades, something not seen in other ostensibly more radical war films of the era. On the other hand, the film's hero matter-of-factly gases 200 men in their sleep, an action which seems to arouse no notice either inside or out of the picture.

    Cinematically the film is equally contradictory. Leaving aside the ever likable and leaden Roger Moore, the cast is quite good, particularly Richard Burton, who is extraordinarily magnetic and at times brilliant. The film is essentially a caper story that makes no sense after the caper goes awry and which requires a fairly literal deus ex machina for its resolution. Yet it is very entertaining. After an idiotic diversion to introduce Roger Moore's character it moves briskly through the planning of the mission and recruitment of the team into the action which is well-staged with a nice sense of movement. The film's message is delivered mainly in the conversion of a white South African from casual racist to martyr by means of heavy-handed conversations with a noble black politician, a process that seems to take all of a half an hour in the movie's time and though the actors sell it better than you might expect it is less than convincing.

    The whole thing not exactly good, but there are too many good things in it to call it bad.

    Ministry of Fear 1944 ★★★½

    Quite well-done wartime thriller with wonderful production design and a Hitchcockian flavor. Ray Milland is nicely overwrought as the mistakenly-identified protagonist--the Cary Grant role.

    Oliver! 1968 ★★★½

    Lavish, Impeccably presented film is mainly a series of quite enjoyable numbers draped on the scaffolding of a well-known story. Since it is not burdened with actually telling the story it can move briskly from one showcase to the next which it does with great dispatch until the somewhat drawn-out finale. Should be irresistible to anyone who likes musicals, classic filmmaking, or Hollywood's version of Dickensian London.

    Any thoughts?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

      I'm an enormous fan of 'L.A Confidential' and 'Once Upon a Time in America' and they are personal long term favourites. I find 'The Rock' is OK but then I haven't watched it for a while. I lose a little bit of interest after the car chase if I'm honest.

      I haven't seen any of your other watches.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/PzyKo/ Max

      I love LA Confidential and I think The Rock is Michael Bay's best film by a country mile. Also, which version of Once Upon a Time in America did you watch?

      • Falcon

        The 229 min version. I think there is a longer cut coming out but I don't think it is available in the U.S. yet. I hear the short version is pretty bad.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Adu/ Adu

    Noah: 4/5

    An immersive dark epic which mixes some strangeness and Aronofsky's artistic strokes quite well. You can catch my complete review below.

    http://letterboxd.com/adu/film/noah/

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    I saw the following line-up of trailers when I went to see NOAH yesterday. And yes, I'm going to grade them.

    1. BEARS - C+

    More of the same from Disney Nature, but the trailers was seriously funny. Attaching dramatic weight to a documentary about bears is just weird.

    2. EARTH TO ECHO - D-

    It gets points for evoking E.T, but that's it. None of the child actors seem particularly good, and found-footage really needs to die out.

    3. TRANSFORMERS 4 - D

    Go away, Michael Bay.

    4. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 - D+

    I'm actually really looking forward to this. Can't wait to pop it into my PS4 and swing around town as Spidey.

    5. THE OTHER WOMAN - F

    Kate Upton is a model. Not an actress. No, the two are not synonymous.

    6. TRANSCENDENCE - C+

    The story itself is interesting, and Wally Pfister is tremendously gifted as a DP. The problem may lie with the fact that the film seems to be regurgitating end-of-mankind themes from other works. We've gotten enough of that.

  • Austin

    Dallas Buyers Club - B+
    The Kings Speech - A-
    Computer Chess - C-
    The Wolf of Wall Street - B+
    Pandora's Promise - B
    The Incredible Burt Wonderstone - C-
    The Adventures of TinTin - B-
    Red State - C-
    About Time - A
    Senna - B
    A Late Quartet - B

  • Xarnis

    Noah (2014; first watch) — Originally published here

    Darren Aronofky – a director well known for his smaller, yet very noteworthy efforts – tries his hand in the big budget blockbuster business, and exceeds expectations. Much controversy has arisen around Noah, from the amount of creative deviation from its sacred source material, to the studio screening unapproved rough cuts of the film for test audiences, angering the director. But no matter what one thinks of the film, it’s undeniably remarkable in its ambition and extremely accomplished technically. To top it all off, there’s the ever reliable Russell Crowe, delivering a visceral and complex performance as one of the Bible’s most recognized figures.

    Everyone and their grandmother knows the biblical story of Noah and the ark, no matter the religion. So from the inception of an Aronofsky-filmed adaptation, my attention was captured. Naturally, given the talent behind the camera, this film was not going to be a complete crowd-pleasing film with an evangelical Christian basis, but Aronofsky really exceeded any preconceived notions of what I thought the film was going to be like. It is definitely a blockbuster, but it’s imbued with such a distinct filmmaking style that sets it apart from the crowd of mindless big-budget extravagance. There’s some genuine psychological depth within these characters – especially Noah himself, due to Crowe’s triumphant performance.

    Russell Crowe is a perfect choice for the character of Noah. His physical attributes, acting style, and steely gaze fits the character like a glove. His performance and Aronofsky’s vision of the character, put forth in the script, combine to subvert what could have been a completely rote and lifeless “super holy and righteous” archetype. Noah feels like a genuine person and his inner conflicts (which come to a head in the second half) form the shape of the film’s story, instead of allowing the plot to be advanced solely by clichéd story elements. Naturally, however, the film does fall into its inherent genre trappings more than once, but the intense psychology behind the main character allows it to succeed in the story element.

    Anyone who’s seen an Aronofsky film before knows he’s rather unconventional, and assuredly ambitious. It was only natural that his ambitions took on the form a blockbuster like Noah. Thankfully, he does not allow a lot of the issues that come packaged in with most of the genre’s releases nowadays to hamper his incredibly realized vision. This film is a superb blend of auteurist filmmaking and full-scale spectacle, allowing for some truly impressive effects scenes in addition to the psychology-driven character moments (which are, again, especially good in the latter half). The film’s technical side is incredibly accomplished – not just in visual effects, but in cinematography and production design as well. The effects are the obvious eye-candy, and with good reason. However, the design allows for a mesh between the director’s vision and the story itself, creating a unique vision of Earth – one that is, at times, eerily recognizable. The cinematography is stunning at times – and also generic at times, unfortunately. There are two time-lapse sequences in the film, however, that are incredible, and likely some of the best stuff I have seen in a while. The opening sequence and the story of creation are definitely some of the film’s high points. Aronofsky’s use of repeated visual and story-telling motifs is also a nice touch, as it allows for some thought-provoking and poignant material to surface through visual storytelling. His view is executed with just the right amount of subtlety, and it works with the film’s ambitious scope and ambitions. Everything just works – for the most part.

    However, there are some problems that seem to be inherent in blockbuster film. Noah drifts into generic territory on occasion, but thankfully those instances are very few and far between – the film is largely a unique experience. But the specific lines of dialogue within the script aren't particularily great (they aren't bad by any means, but they also aren't anything special). Instead, the script is driven by the psychology behind the titular character, which is mostly a good thing, especially for Russell Crowe, but it subsequently hurts the film’s supporting cast a bit. Jennifer Connelly isn't given much to do until one scene towards the end where she goes way over the top. Logan Lerman’s subplot involving an outside girl could have been further expanded to add some more depth to his character, benefiting the inner struggle he comes across later in the film. Ray Winstone is the archetypal villain, who’s motive is reasonable, but he’s definitely the least interesting and un-dynamic character out of the whole, rather impressive ensemble cast.

    There are a few other minor issues with the film, but they aren’t truly worth mentioning. When it’s all put together, Noah is a remarkably ambitious blockbuster that frees itself from the genre stereotypes enough for it to be truly poignant and unique. While it’s not perfect, and the more conservative crowd is likely to take displeasure in the film’s artistic license – the film is definitely one to remember.

    3.5/5

    The Immigrant (2014; first watch) — *I'll be honest: I wasn't really up for a whole review. So here's some notes I conceived during and after the film.*

    I like money. I don't like you. I hate you. And I hate myself.

    - It feels almost as if Marion Cotillard tried a new experimental acting technique where he performs only with her eyes - as most are aware, the eyes are often called the gateways to the soul, and are considered the most expressive part of the body. But evidenced by Cotillard's performance, it doesn't really work. Her eyes are very expressive, but they can't properly convey her character motivations by themselves. The whole face needs to work, but her expressions are incredibly robotic throughout. For example - the quote above is said to Joaquin Phoenix's character by Cotillard's. Now, this statement seems to come out of nowhere; her character is completely lacking in motivational sequence. She has no objective, or possibly the script just offers little insight into the character. Still, it's the actor's job to create their own sense of purpose and objective - which Cotillard fails to do. A surprisingly lackluster performance; a tarnish on an otherwise excellent resume.

    - Phoenix also succumbs to the blandness that seeps throughout the film. He gets a lot better as the film goes on, but this is also very low on his performance scale.

    - The story itself is incredibly plain and, while it's an obvious deconstruction of the American dream, has very little interesting events or circumstances.

    - The script is very weak. Quite a few laughable lines and exchanges.

    - The production value is pretty solid, but the direction is fairly bland. Some more stylistic choices could've further enhanced Gray's vision of 1920s America.

    - Some of the music is really nice. The integrated orchestral pieces work pretty well with the film (worked better in The Tree of Life, though).

    - Renner's performance is pretty good. I like how his character is a magician - representing how the "good" side of the American dream is nothing more than a farce.

    - These characters a really one-note. It's obvious that not much though was put into developing their pasts and motivations - both a fault of the script, and the actors.

    - There are some legitimately great shots in this film, but they're few and far between. The cinematography mainly succeeds in the outdoor shots, and in one scene in some tunnels.

    - The final shot is excellent.

    - The film leaves you nothing to chew on, nothing to ponder, or dwell over. In the end, it's just a mundane story about a robotic immigrant's struggle and subsequent self-pity (which she does nothing to change) and two men who both vie for her.

    A very poor film all around.

    2.5/5

    Miami Vice (2006; rewatch) — Mann can do wonders with digital cinema. A true auteur in his finest form, his hyper-realist approach fully formed and at its finest here. From a technical filmmaking standpoint - it's pretty much perfect. Sure it's held down a bit by a somewhat weak script and a sagging 2nd act, but when Miami Vice hits the right notes, it hits them hard.

    4/5

    CSA: The Confederate States of America (2004; first watch) — While it's undoubtedly dry in parts (like something you'd see in high school history class, which was likely the intention given the films low budget), it's definitely interesting to see an alternative history mockumentary: a genre that seems like it'd be more popular. CSA is an incredibly dark Juvenalian satire that's simultaneously funny, disturbing, and thought-provoking. A soft recommendation; I likely wouldn't suggest it to anyone that is easily offended. While it's anti-racism message it clear in the end, some scenes may be considered in poor taste by some.

    3/5

    The Great Gatsby (2013; rewatch) — Forget counting how many times Gatsby says "old sport," I want to know how many times they show that damned green light. We get it, Baz, it's symbolism. Tone it down... a lot.

    2.5/5

    Rain Man (1988; rewatch) — 3/5

    1. thoughts on what I watched?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

      Noah-A
      The Great Gatsby-A-

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      1. Like Gatsby. Want to see Noah and CSA.

    • Falcon

      CSA is fantastic, I need to see it again, but I'd say maybe 4/5

      You are way too kind to Gatsby, it's dreadful.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

    Heavenly Shift (Márk Bodzsár, 2013) 9/10
    Gabrielle (Louise Archambault, 2013) 7/10
    Her (Spike Jonze, 2013) 9/10
    Joe (David Gordon Green, 2013) 7/10
    The Police Officer's Wife (Philip Gröning, 2013) 6/10
    Bass Ackwards (Linas Phillips, 2010) 7/10
    Land of Storms (Ádám Császi, 2014) 2/10
    The Geographer Drank His Globe Away (Aleksandr Veledinsky, 2013) 8/10
    The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (Felix Herngren, 2013) 8/10
    Calvary (John Michael McDonagh, 2014) 9/10
    A Promise (Patrice Leconte, 2013) 6/10
    My Sweet Pepperland (Hiner Saleem, 2013) 6/10

    Any thoughts on the films I watched?

    • Xarnis

      Really looking forward to seeing Joe, glad to see you liked it a bit.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

        Yes, I really liked it. Only it was a little over-done at times both on directing and acting. But it's still one of the best performance in Cage's career.

  • http://cineenuruguay.com/ Driver

    Captain America: Winter Soldier B+
    A thrilling action movie that gives a little twist to the Marvel Universe. Its probably one of the best in this series. Still, its great by Marvel standards so get ready for some great action scenes and an interesting villain plan, even if it is a bit dumb, don't expect Dark Knight kind of good.

    Saving Mr. Banks B/B+
    I was crying at the end, so yeah, it got me. Can't wait to revisit Mary Poppins now.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/PzyKo/ Max

    I was blessed with Spring Break this week, so I watched a little extra.

    Film:

    Gone Baby Gone (Rewatch): My favorite of Ben Affleck's three directorial efforts, even though they are all terrific. Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane (one of my favorite authors), Ben paints a perfect picture of working class Dorchester. Excellent performances from the entire cast, with Casey Affleck, Ed Harris, and Amy Ryan in her Oscar nominated turn standing out. This is a perfect example of a film that is so underrated, it's almost amazing when you hear someone mention it. A+

    The Town (Rewatch): Too bad I don't have Argo, otherwise I would've watched all of Ben's films. Seen by some as a rip-off of Heat, Affleck's sharp direction and the stellar screenplay he co-wrote take a both the Heist drama and the Boston crime drama genres and give them both a fresh look. The heist scenes in the film are great, and the performances, even Affleck, are top notch. A+

    End of Watch (Rewatch): Another film that falls under the title of underrated as Hell. This was my second favorite film of 2012. The performances by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are both fantastic and David Ayer really knows how to direct great action scenes. A

    Silver Linings Playbook (Rewatch): I love this movie. I could watch it every day if I could. The performances are all great. The script, direction, music, and everything all come together to form a perfect romantic story. Even if the romances in the film aren't. A+

    Good Will Hunting (Rewatch): My favorite movie of all time. 'Nuff said. A+

    Hard Eight (First Watch): Finally got around to seeing this. Paul Thomas Anderson's first film, and also his best. Although that's not saying much as, like his other films, Anderson's writing puts too much emphasis on certain character's over others and not as much on the story. B

    Taxi Driver (First Watch): This was just put on Netflix, so I knew that I was gonna check it out eventually. Robert De Niro's performance as Travis Bickle is one of the greatest performances in the history of film. Scorsese's direction highlights the darkness that is the streets of New York City, and Bernard Herrmann's score is just so damn cool. A+

    TV:

    The Sopranos Season 2: I've watched the whole series before, but it's the greatet TV show ever made. As good as season 1 is, Season 2 still improves upon that. And I honestly believe that the season finale might the best episode of the entire series. That closing montage to the Rolling Stones song just gets me.

    House of Cards Season 2: Finally got to this. The season starts off with a shock, but as the season comes to a close, we can see the ending coming a mile away. I need to see True Detective still and the final season of Breaking Bad, but I just don't want to watch anymore Breaking Bad, it's just not good, but I think Kevin Spacey's performance might be the best male leading performance in a drama.

    And who else is looking forward to the series finale of How I Met Your Mother?

    1) Thoughts on what I watched?
    2) Rate Ben Affleck's directed films.
    3) What is your favorite Robert De Niro performance.
    4) What is your favorite romance film.
    5) Rate some of your favorite performances on TV, whether it be male/female or lead/supporting.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

      1) Gone Baby Gone 7/10
      The Town 8/10
      End of Watch 9/10
      Silver Linings Playbook 3/10
      Hard Eight 9/10
      Taxi Driver 7/10
      2) Affleck rated:
      1. Argo 10/10
      2. The Town 8/10
      3. Gone Baby Gone 7/10
      3) Heat
      4) Lovers of the Arctic Circle

    • m1

      1. I would say B+ on Gone Baby Gone, A- on The Town, B on End of Watch, A on Silver Linings Playbook, B+ on Good Will Hunting, and A+ on Taxi Driver.

      2. Argo (A), The Town (A-), Gone Baby Gone (B+)

      3. Taxi Driver

      4. Before Sunset

      5. I love Claire Danes on Homeland.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Chris138/ Chris138

    Noah - Well, color me surprised. Since this project was first announced a couple of years ago, I had great skepticism about it all. Although I've admired Aronofsky's work in the past, I just had a hard time imagining him tackling this subject with a budget of over $100 million. But, as I said, I was very pleasantly surprised to find myself completely wrapped up in this movie from the beginning until the end. The first two-thirds of the film, in particular, are thrillingly entertaining and resemble a sort of post-apocalyptic, nightmarish vision that is unlike I've any Biblical film that I've seen. It's also got that big battle in the middle that looks like something taken out of the Lord of the Rings films. The last third of the film starts to delve into very Old Testament territory with some melodrama that felt a bit uneven with the rest of the picture, although I was never bored and it poses some of the film's most challenging and complex questions. I get a feeling that this section is what is making a lot of audiences rather uncomfortable. Overall, I think this is Aronofsky's most purely entertaining film and I was really taken aback by just how good of a time I had. I can't wait to get the Blu-ray and watch it again. 4/5

    Re-watches:

    The Wolf of Wall Street - Now this is a movie that holds up tremendously well on a second viewing. After watching it again I think it is pretty obvious that this film is a satire and Scorsese looks at these guys as a bunch of idiots and degenerates. Leonardo DiCaprio's performance really carries the whole thing and it might be my favorite of his to date. I feel like a lot of Scorsese's love for Fellini comes through some of the wilder scenes in this film. This is one of the movies from last year that I can see myself watching continuously as the years go on. 5/5

    Sanjuro - A pretty solid sequel to Yojimbo that is somewhat underrated. Mifune is great as always, and the film has a decidedly more comic tone than its predecessor. The humor doesn't always have quite the bite that the first film has and has a few lulls in the middle section, but it moves at a generally quick pace and is a fun way to spend 93 minutes of your time. 4/5

    Pacific Rim - This was my first time watching the film since it was in theaters last summer, and I still feel the same way about it now as I did then. It's nowhere near as bad as I expected, and even kind of fun as a purely escapist piece of entertainment. Idris Elba commands each scene he is in and gives what is probably the best performance in the film. Charlie Hunnam is a somewhat bland lead, but his casting doesn't bring the movie down completely or anything. It's basically like a Transformers film with characters who are less annoying and without Michael Bay's tasteless sense of humor. 3/5

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Kessler/ Kessler

    In Theaters:

    Bad Words - A decent enough movie with a solid performance from Jason Bateman, who also shows to be a very efficient director. Not all of it works because the story seems underdeveloped and some cast members (Allison Janey and Phillip Baker Hall) are wasted, but there's just enough laughs to keep the viewer interested throughout. Not a great movie, but good enough to have me looking forward to Jason Bateman's next directorial effort.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/aroncido/ aroncido

    Noah - A
    The Grand Budapest Hotel - A-
    The LEGO Movie - B+

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/MovieFan/ Israel Valencia

    - The Lone Ranger (2013)
    ( D )
    - About Time
    ( B )
    - Chariots of Fire
    ( C- )
    - Match Point
    ( C+ )
    - The Big Lebowski
    ( A )
    - Cesar Chavez
    ( C- )
    - Divergant
    ( D+ )
    - Bad Words
    ( C )
    - Need for Speed
    ( D+ )
    - Noah
    ( B )
    Thoughts? Agree? Disagree?

    • TheOneWhoKnocks

      I'd go lower on NEED FOR SPEED, which I originally enjoyed. Then, my brain turned on.

      I'd also give NOAH an A.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/MovieFan/ Israel Valencia

        Yeah I think I gave Need For Speed a higher grade than should but part of me knew it would only fulfill my need for speed which it did but it didn't present any thought into the film. Noah was good but not amazing, for me.

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    Most of you guys manage to get through a lot of movies during the week. How do you do it? Do you buy the movies? What streaming or DVD service do you use? Seriously, I can't imagine watching eight to 15 movies in one week. Then again, as soon as I switch jobs, I will have a lot more time.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

      Personally it's just basic organisation without turning it into a chore. My viewing is a combo of TV, renting (I'm generally not a fan of streaming but for some things) and what I own. Given the average movie is just a couple hours you can get through plenty with just a little planning.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Newbourne/ Newbourne

      It's called not having a life. I have no idea how any of these guys watch 8-10 movies a week. That's just insane. How they have time for work/school/family/dating/hygiene is beyond me.

      • TheOneWhoKnocks

        Who has time for family? :D

  • http://imqwerty.wordpress.com/ Jordan B.

    Looking forward to finishing my thesis and being able to join this column more regularly again, but here's a quick rundown of what I watched:

    The Darjeeling Limited: ★★★★
    In A World...: ★★★★
    Enemy: ★★★★½ (watched twice)

    A link to my review of Enemy can be found below, for anyone who has seen it. Right now, it's quite possibly my favorite film of the year, with Grand Budapest Hotel the other potential holder of the #1 position.

    Enemy Review: http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh/film/enemy/

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Newbourne/ Newbourne

    Noah- I really liked this movie. What most people are calling its faults, are the things I enjoyed about most. I was on the edge of my seat during their family troubles which is a true accomplishment for a film based on a story everyone knows. A-

    The Big Lebowski- Hilarious movie. I can't believe I went my whole life without watching it. It was worth it. A+

    Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels- Snatch is one of my favorite films ever, so I decided to watch LS, and it was definitely worth it. This is another one I can't believe I hadn't watched. Ritchie has a terrific brand of dark comedy/hyperlink cinema, and it's really too bad that he has been stuck doing those god-awful Sherlock films. I hope he uses their success to go back to what he's really good at. A-

    Avengers Confidential: Black Widow and The Punisher- I'm not a big sucker for anime, so I just didn't enjoy this too much. The animation always looks lazy to me, with nothing moving except the chin. I know it's supposed to resemble a comic book, but I just don't really relate to it. The story wasn't much to rave about either. All I got from this was that Punisher could be an awesome Batman-like action film if Marvel decides to do him justice. C+.

    Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery- I know I shouldn't be searching for quality in these Scooby-Doo movies, but this one takes the cake in terms of awfulness. I used to be a big WWE fan, but that didn't blind me from how dumb and boring this whole movie was. I watched it with my 10-year-old brother, and he liked it, so I guess they know how to appeal to their demo. But when it comes to me, it's a D+.